2010’s In Film Day 8 (2018)

January – Coco

A film that’s just as beautiful now as it was when it was released. This film is incredibly emotional, but it is also life-affirming. Yes, you’ll cry your eyes out, but you’ll also feel uplifted by the whole thing. Another great thing about it is that it used a mostly Latino cast, they didn’t just hire a lot of white people and get them to do a mildly racist accent. On the downside, apparently, when this was released it was pre-empted with a new short film based on Frozen, which is a somewhat misguided thing to do. This was one of the first films I saw that year, so it could really only go downhill from there.

February – Lady Bird

Or it could get better. This is a personal favourite of mine. I know quite a few people who hate this film, and I get it. It meanders a lot and doesn’t really have a plot. Considering how important story is to me, you’d think I would hate this. But something about this film makes me love it. I think it’s the general tone of it, it’s very warm. It’s basically an Instagram filter placed on polaroid pictures of treasured memories. It makes me nostalgic for a life I never even had, for a time which I didn’t really experience.

March – Blockers

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; it’s incredibly refreshing to see a teen sex comedy from a female perspective. Not many films admit that teenage girls enjoy sex. It’s mostly teenage boys “conquering” girls until they sleep with them. The idea that women can get pleasure from sex is weirdly missing from films (with the exception of two characters; the slut, and the cheating girlfriend/wife), so it is nice to see this film. Also, it’s hilarious, full of great performances all round.

April – A Quiet Place

In 1952 John Cage composed the piece 4’33”. It’s basically: everyone in the orchestra puts their instruments down and do nothing for four minutes, thirty-three seconds. The intention is that it makes people listen to the background noise, to make them aware of the atmospheric sounds around this. This film does that, Because the audience noise was so sporadic, when it did happen it wasn’t annoying, it was scary. That’s what makes this film unique, every time you see it will be different because you’ll have to listen to the background noises around you. They’ll be people uncomfortable who’ll be adjusting their position, which creates noise that scares you, that exact scare will never happen again for any other screening, it’s unique to that one experience. It’s a horror movie with audience participation. I tried watching it on a plane, though, and it didn’t really work.

May – Deadpool 2

This….this was not a good month for me. Most the films released this month that I’d want to see weren’t released at cinemas (How To Talk To Girls At Parties I can understand as was low budget etc, but the cinema showed trailers for Entebbe all the time so how can they not show that?). I prefer this film to the first one, the story is much better for one. I always felt that most of the first film felt like a set-up to the final scene, rather than one continuous story. This felt like a flowing story with a beginning, middle, and end. Plus it also genuinely surprised me, the marketing campaign hid what this film was actually about better than any film I’ve seen (including Endgame). Luckily it did it in a funny way so you didn’t feel annoyed and disappointed. The big downside is TJ Miller is still in it. I would have understood if they reshot his scenes with someone else.

June – Hereditary

The best way I can showcase my feelings about this film is to quote my original review:

It’s been a few days since I watched this. I needed the cool-down period so that I could approach this with the sophistication and slick analytical nature which we are known for. So here goes: WHAT THE COCKING SHIT-FUCK WAS THAT?

I still maintain it’s worthy of the cocking shit fuck. I may have been wrong a few minutes ago when I said Deadpool hid what the film was about the best. This completely misled the audience. Kudos to the film for having the sheer balls to kill what looked like the main character, and so brutally too, I like marketing that works like that, when it deliberately deceives you, but not in a way that you feel cheated, but in a way that it means the story beats come as a complete surprise. It’s the way of saying “okay, now all bets are off” and it throws you off. That’s what you want from this film, you want to be unsettled and to feel like you’re constantly on the backfoot. That sense of unease and uncertainty is essential to a film like this. I love it, but don’t want to watch it again.

July – The Incredibles 2

The first one was Incredible, and this one was Incredible two (I’m so sorry). Everything about this film just works beautifully, the voice-work, the way it looks, the story, it all interacts with each other in the most wonderful way. The story is serviceable, it doesn’t come anywhere near the depth of Toy Story 3, or the heart of Finding Dory, but that doesn’t actually matter. You’re not sitting there thinking “well this story is pedestrian” because the way the film is done you don’t really care, you’re just sitting there amazed at what you see unveiling in front of you. It does what it needs to do, and it does it well. That’s not to say it’s a simple movie, it’s probably the only mass-market animated movie this year that has dealt with the themes this does. Themes of masculinity and feeling worthless because you’re not the one the family depends on, the emasculation that can cause. Was it worth the wait? Kind of. I mean, I’d be annoyed if they said we had to wait 14 years until the next one, but I’d rather they get everything perfect than rush it out. Like A Quiet Place, I watched this on a plane too. Well, I attempted to, the guy sitting next to me was watching it too and he was about 2 minutes ahead of me. I had to stop the film as I knew I would never win that race.

August – Searching

It HAD to be this. It HAD to. This is one of my favourite films, not just of that year, but of all time. A true hidden gem. It’s so good I struggle to talk about it. It does SO much right, and I can’t wait to see it again. *spoilers* even the happy ending doesn’t feel forced or tacked on. Some films are so good they inspire you to make similar films, this film is so good it will kind of make you want to give up as you know you will never touch it. It’s apt that I reviewed this after finishing the Saw series blogs, because that series could learn a lot from this about how to craft a compelling mystery. The film is about a girl who goes missing, and her fathers attempts to find her, but the entire film takes place on computer screens.  This has been done before; with Unfriended, which considering I now call that “Unfriended. A.k.a, fuck that film” should show how highly I regarded that film, and my expectations for this. I have a love/hate relationship with “gimmick” films. You know what I mean, the kind where the biggest sell of it isn’t the plot or actors, but the way they made the film. When they’re done well, like Buried (one person in a casket for the entire film), they’re a great piece of film-making, but they have to be great, because if they’re only okay (Unsane), then the fact it’s a gimmick-heavy film works makes it seem worse. Every writer should watch this film, so should every editor. In fact, everyone who wants to get involved in film-making should watch this film, it’s just so damn good.

September – The House With A Clock In Its Walls

This film is the work of someone who knows what they’re doing, but is toning it down slightly for the younger audience. This is definitely a film for kids, it is a slight horror but it has that warm feeling that you associate with films from the ’80s like ET etc. There’s an air of warm nostalgia to the whole thing that will warm the hearts of fans of those films. It’s incredibly, I don’t know, cosy. Just because it’s a difficult film to dislike, does not mean it’s an easy film to love. It just doesn’t really do much to make you remember it for years to come. The final third almost manages it, with a chaotically fast-paced piece that is logical and weird. The whole film is weird, which makes sense as that’s the message of the film: weird is good, embrace the weirdness. Also; bullies are dickholes.

October – Halloween

I’ve never seen a Halloween film. Well that’s a lie, I might have seen the first one, but when I was like 10 so I wasn’t really paying attention to it. As such my knowledge of the film series is stuff I absorb through pop-culture osmosis. So I know a little bit (He’s called Michael Myers, the third one is unconnected to the rest of the series and was originally meant to be the second one, THAT music etc), but not enough that I feel emotionally connected to. Despite that; I still REALLY enjoyed this. It seems to ignore all but the first one, and is all the better for it. You don’t need to have watched a lot of films to get this, as long as you know the basics of the character you should be fine, actually considering how well scripted this is I don’t even think you’ll need that. It does a great job of bringing you up to speed, explaining what’s haunting certain characters. The downsides of this film; there’s one death which is kind of embarrassing to watch. It’s where Michael Myers stamps on someone’s head, it looks incredibly fake and is almost comical. It breaks the tension completely and takes you out of the moment. There are also issues with the characters. The ones who survive are fine, it’s the ones who die that you don’t really care for. There are some characters with promise who then die before they get to fulfil that promise. And there is a twist which is completely unnecessary and stops mattering after a few minutes, it seems like it is only there because it was the only way they could think of to move the plot from one moment to the next. Luckily the moment that builds up to is superb.

November – Ralph Breaks The Internet

I enjoyed the first movie, it was fun, heartwarming, smart, and funny. It was done by people who had an obvious love for video games, specifically arcade and retro ones. This one……doesn’t really work, for many reasons. Firstly, it kind of feels like a generic movie, not a Wreck It Ralph sequel. The first movie doesn’t seem to come into play much here, it’s not a natural progression and feels like it could have been written featuring any characters. Too many of the jokes veer into “this is a thing, we are referencing the thing, now laugh!” territory. There are some funny moments but they’re few and far between. This wouldn’t matter as much if the script was engaging, but it’s not. It’s incredibly bland, I was actually bored many times throughout this. When it approached what I thought could be an ending I was actually disappointed to be proven wrong. There’s an entire subplot about characters from the first movie starting a family which takes up a grand total of about 3 minutes of screentime. It’s kind of strange as you can tell the film was aiming to be emotionally heavy, and that would have been a good subplot to cut to to relieve tension and provide juxtaposition. It’s way too reminiscent of The Emoji movie for its own good.

December – Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

This film loves the character of Spider-man, you can tell this by the way it mocks him sometimes. It’s like the lego batman movie in that way, it does make fun of previous films, but it’s done with such knowledge and love. This is a different kind of comic book movie, for one thing, it’s REALLY weird. It’s a film for kids that deals with multiverse theory. It’s also incredibly meta, but not too much so. The voice work here is great too. The film-makers didn’t skimp when it came to casting, you’ve got real talent here: Hailee Steinfeld, Lily Tomlin, Nicholas Cage, Liev Schreiber, Kathryn Hahn etc. It also features what has to count as the best and most heartbreaking Stan Lee cameo ever. This is the first film released after his death (not counting the Deadpool 2 re-release), he appears on screen after Spider-man dies and says “I’m going to miss him”. F*cking heartbreaking. The most depressing part of the film, and there’s quite a lot of them, I mean, the original Spider-man gets killed early on, and all the alternate spider-men/pig/women are haunted by a death of someone, they’re defined by guilt about who they could not save. This is the best time to mention the characterisation of the different universe characters; they are all fully-fledged characters with motivations and backstories. This could be a film to launch a franchise.

The animation is some of the best you’ll see, with multiple styles displayed across the film, each incredibly distinct and gorgeous. The fight scenes are done brilliantly too, you never lose track of what’s happening, the final fight, in particular, is a masterpiece of surreal film-making that plays out like a AAA video game boss level. The soundtrack too, is amazing. It really suits the film, the songs are not only great but they go perfectly with the images. It does what a soundtrack should do, it complements the film perfectly. Yeah, I’ve said a lot of good things about this, with good reason, it’s BRILLIANT. The one downside is the flashing lights could cause a seizure, and that really should have been better publicised. Other than that? A great way for me to end the year, and this blog.

2018 In Film Part 2: The Meh

The qualifier for this is somewhat more complicated than the previous one. These aren’t necessarily bad films, just films that I don’t need to see again. Mainly films that I didn’t like, but can appreciate one thing in it. So quite bad, but had a single redeeming feature that makes them slightly worthwhile as a curiosity. There’s a few here which I can see people being annoyed about are in here. So I should point out that this is nearly all personal opinion, so please don’t firebomb me.

Adrift

I appreciate what they were going for, and it is a great story they’re telling, it just wasn’t really told well enough. I think part of this is because the central romance seemed incredibly rushed for me. They fell in love incredibly quickly and I didn’t really buy it. It also lacked tension, because if a film is “based on a true story”, and the story is about someone trapped somewhere, you know they get out, otherwise who would they have told the story to?

Original review here

+Great idea, and the lengths Shailene Woodley went to to look the part are very impressive, or the make-up team did a great job on making her look half dead, one of the two.

-A romance story where the leads lack chemistry.

Aquaman

THIS is the one a lot of people will disagree with. A lot of people love this film, and I can kind of see why, it looks good, and has some very funny moments. But personally, I was bored shitless during it. I looked at my watch so much I almost got RSI in my wrist (obvious masturbation is obvious). That’s its biggest flaw, but it is quite a damn big one. I’m not even sure if it had a bonus scene mid-credits, because I left as soon as the film ended, I couldn’t be bothered to go through any more of it.

Original review here

+It looked great, and established the character as a serious hero.

-Soooooo dull. Could have lost at least 30 minutes.

Assassination Nation

Nowhere near as slick as it needed to be. The kick-ass final section is BRILLIANT. But it takes ages to get there. Props to it for having an actual trans actor in it, that doesn’t happen often enough. I feel this film could have been great, if the rest of the film matched how great the closing is, I’d love it. As it is, I feel kind of cheated.

Original review here

+THAT closing section. Also it opening with trigger warnings was pretty genius.

-The pacing.

The Cloverfield Paradox

This is let down mainly by the script and the really poor attempt to link it to the rest of the franchise. The first Cloverfield is brilliant, and it seems like nothing from the series has matched it, mainly because of the ways they’ve attempted to link them into the mythos. All of them would have worked better as unlinked original movies. What do most people talk about in this film? The final two seconds. That’s not the sign of a good movie.

Original review here

+Daniel Bruh is brilliant.

-Bad script.

Fantastic Beasts

This does not seem like Harry Potter, it seems like a cheap knock off written by somebody who has no idea about foreshadowing and legacy. It doesn’t even have the adorable nature of the first film (which, by the way, it completely disregards the ending of within about 4 minutes).

Original review here

+Looks magnificent in parts.

-THAT ending.

The Mercy

A film that I feel was let down the story structure. The fact it went from him alone, to his family, meant that you never really felt isolated like the character was. I felt it would have been stronger to have more of the focus on him. Also, it’s just not, I dunno, ugly enough. Compare it to Adrift, which I didn’t like, but you felt they were near death, you never really got that here.

Original review here

+Looks beautiful

-A bit too beautiful.

Mortal Engines

I feel like this film should have been a bigger deal. For some reason there wasn’t much marketing about it though so I don’t think it did too well. Shame as it’s incredibly inventive and the kind of thing cinema needs to do more often. So why is it in here? The pacing is all over the place, as is the tone, and the character relationships don’t really ring true. Shame as it looks SUPERB.

Original review here

+The set design. Everything looks just dirty enough to seem authentic.

-Script is kind of lacking.

Ralph Breaks The Internet

I would probably think more highly of this film if the first one wasn’t so great. The first one is amazing and is one of the best animated films that’s not Pixar of the last few years. This one? Seems incredibly lazy by comparison. It also is way to reminiscent of The Emoji Movie at times.

Original review here

+The Disney Princess scenes. Expect for them to be ruined in spin-offs.

-Never comes close to being as good as the first one.

Slaughterhouse Rulez

Again, this was probably let down by high expectations. I expected this to be one of the best films of the year. Instead it was just meh. It wasn’t as clever as it needed to be, with only one or two scenes living up to the films potential. It’s not as satirical as it should be, the public school system is ripe for satire, particularly in a horror film like this, yet it doesn’t do it. There’s also hints of a much better film in this.

Original review here

+Asa Butterfield’s character arc is a joy.

-Constantly sets up dominos it has no intention of knocking down.

The Spy Who Dumped Me

Look, I like Kate McKinnon, I really do. When she’s on form nobody can touch her. But she has a tendency to improv too much and it can get a bit grating occasionally. That’s the issue with this film, it seems way too improvised at times, scenes go on too long just for the sake of a small laugh. It doesn’t recognise that sometimes it’s best to sacrifice a small laugh if it doesn’t serve the film well enough. My other issue? The characters don’t seem to take the threat seriously at times, running around joking way too much for people in their situation. So this means we don’t take the threat seriously, so it kind of ruins any dramatic tension.

Original review here

+At times, incredibly funny.

-Too unfocused.

Teen Titans Go! To The Movies

This movie was patchy as hell. Had really funny moments, and occasionally was incredibly meta and brilliant. And other times it had a farting balloon monster who was defeated by a song. Sadly the it was about 70/30, with the 30 being brilliance. It did have a lot to like about it though, it had a love for comic book movies, which is always great, and some of the moments seem like they could be extended into truly great movies. Just a shame they waste them for 4 minute skits.

Original review here

+The funniest Stan Lee cameo in a while.

-Somewhat embarrassing to watch at times.

Uncle Drew

As far as sports movies go it was thoroughly okay. Serviceable but not the kind of film I’ll remember unless someone points it out to me. Yet I did like it whilst I was watching it, the writer and director were skilful enough to know how to wring emotion when it was needed, yet also how to bring you back to laughter. It is incredibly predictable though, and goes through almost every single sports cliche you care to mention.

Original review here

+Lil Rel Howery anchors the film. Also the fact his character is shown to be good at basketball because he practiced (rather than a natural gift) is admirable.

-Not needed, by anybody. You don’t NEED to see this.

Venom

I really wanted to enjoy this. I wanted it to distract me from life, but it couldn’t. It’s too lazy. Also, it doesn’t go hard enough, this needs to be a hard-R, and it’s PG-13. It is a great potential start though, it could lead to a great franchise, but it has to learn from the mistakes of this movie.

Original review here

+The relationship between the human and the symbiote is great.

-They kept the “turd in the wind” line in.

Widows

I really wanted to like this. I like the director, the writer, the cast, and the story seemed great. Maybe my expectations were too high because it definitely didn’t meet them. It felt emotionally hollow, some of the shots were, I hate to say this, dull. The shot construction never really added anything to the film. Also, the story was a bit, well, meh. You never felt the jeopardy, and it wasn’t even fun enough to make up for it. A real shame.

Original review here

+The performances are simply incredible.

-A twist which adds nothing to the film.

 

 

 

Ralph Breaks The Internet (2018)

I enjoyed the first movie, it was fun, heartwarming, smart, and funny. It was done by people who had an obvious love for video games, specifically arcade and retro ones. This one……doesn’t really work, for many reasons. Firstly, it kind of feels like a generic movie, not a Wreck It Ralph sequel. The first movie doesn’t seem to come into play much here, it’s not a natural progression and feels like it could have been written featuring any characters. There are moments which are specifically these characters, but they are few and far between. There’s no reason for this to be a sequel, and not just a random film.

It also seems like it’s written by completely different people, it doesn’t have any of the natural wit of the first film. Too many of the jokes veer into “this is a thing, we are referencing the thing, now laugh!” territory. There are some funny moments but they’re few and far between. This wouldn’t matter as much if the script was engaging, but it’s not. It’s incredibly bland, I was actually bored many times throughout this. When it approached what I thought could be an ending I was actually disappointed to be proven wrong. There’s an entire subplot about characters from the first movie starting a family which takes up a grand total of about 3 minutes of screentime. It’s kind of strange as you can tell the film was aiming to be emotionally heavy, and that would have been a good subplot to cut to to relieve tension and provide juxtaposition.

Now onto the positive; this looks SUPERB. Every frame is packed with detail, made with both attention and affection. And there are some genuinely funny and laugh out loud moments which remind you of why you loved the first film. The voice acting also has to be mentioned. Everybody is at the top of their game here, even those who only provide a few short lines completely nail it.

Now onto the best part of the film, and for me the only reason to watch it: the Disney princesses. I now want a Disney Princess action movie. The scenes with them in are incredibly funny, smart, and just all-round brilliant. If the entire film was like that I’d say it was better than the first one. As it is, it’s more like The Emoji Movie. And that’s never a good thing.